In his second book, Acts, Luke makes it clear that Jesus appeared to his disciples for 40 days after His resurrection from the dead. Jesus dedicated those 40 days to helping His disciples understand the Scriptures and to explaining the Kingdom of God and the power of the Holy Spirit to them. We are currently in the same 40-day time period between the resurrection of Jesus and His ascension.
The disciples were given a life calling which has been handed down to us. Jesus told them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)
The gospel of Mark gives more detail about the power and authority for the disciples. "And these signs will accompany those who believe; in my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well." (Mark 16:17-18)
In the gospel of Luke, we are told that Jesus "opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures." He reminded them of this: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high." (Luke 24:45-49)
John includes some stories of the disciples' encounters with Jesus that are not in the other three gospels. One story recounts the appearance of Jesus to Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, James, and John as they fished on Lake Galilee. He instructs them to fish on the starboard side of the boat after they caught nothing. Their catch was so large that it made pulling in their net almost impossible. Scripture tells us there were 153 fish in the net, a number that represents the harvest that was to come from the people groups of the world. (Footnote from The Passion Translation)
Before Jesus ascended, He advised His disciples to stay in Jerusalem until the power of the Holy Spirit came upon them. (Acts 1:4) Can you imagine the conversation that took place among the disciples as they waited for the infilling of the Holy Spirit? They probably spoke about the events of the last three years of their lives with Jesus and wondered what the next chapter would look like. The 50 days between the Resurrection and Pentecost should also be one of review and preparation for us. There is always more with Jesus! Perhaps we will have a new perspective on our lives as we wait upon the Holy Spirit to reinvigorate and renew us. The Bible tells us, "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." (Psalm 27:14)
The one who created the heavens and the earth existed before there was creation. Genesis 1:1 used the Hebrew word Elohim which translates God, Mighty Creator, Omnipotent Power. With His breath He made everything from nothing, spoke order into chaos, and light into darkness. Elohim is the plural form of El that gives recognition to the truth that He is a Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. On the sixth day "God created man in His own image..." (Genesis 1:27) His desire was and is to fill our lives with blessings. Psalm 102:27 tells us about the infinity of God. "But you remain the same, and your years will never end."
After destroying life on earth because of its wickedness, God started again with Noah and his family and demonstrated that He is the God who keeps covenant with His people. Nations were birthed from Noah's sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. From Shem's family came Abram and another covenant with God. God said, "I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on the earth will be blessed through you." (Genesis 12:2-3) Abram was blessed with abundant provision through God. To broaden Abram's understanding of Elohim, God said to him, "Do not be afraid Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward." (Genesis 15:1) The covenant God made with Abram (who He renamed Abraham, meaning "Father of a multitude") was sealed with a sign. Every male was to be a sign of the covenant through circumcision. In the generations to come, all male children would be circumcised on the eighth day. (Genesis 17:12) Eight is the number of new beginnings.
The story of Abraham and his relationship with God was verbally shared through the generations. However, when the children of Israel were detained as slaves in Egypt, much of what had been handed down from generation to generation was forgotten. After 430 years of oppression and slavery, God appointed Moses to lead them to the Promised Land and used the events of their journey as a way to reintroduce His character. This took place during the second month on the Hebrew calendar. This month has two names: Iyar and Ziv, which means radiance. We are in the first week of this month and can learn from the Israelite journey. Since this month is linked with light it is time for us to ask God for revelation and to radiate God's glory as we learn more about Him.
As we look back at the events of this month, we can see that God's desire is for greater intimacy with His children. One of ways that we can accomplish this is through getting to know His names. With multiple names, we have multiple ways to relate to Him. Worship leader Paul Wilbur wrote a song called "The Diamond Turns." He asks the question: "Who is like You Oh Lord among gods? Who can worship as You shine? Who could even know in just a single gaze all the glory of Your face?" God is like a diamond with multiple facets. He is radiant; His light is blinding! Every facet of the Lord is unique and meant to help us in our journey on earth.
Again, let's look back at the children of Israel and see how they were developing a new level of relationship with God as they traveled. They saw that God would fight for them as He opened the Red Sea. In the Song of Moses they sang, "The Lord is a warrior." (Exodus 15:3) Then they learned that God is Jehovah Rapha (The God who Heals) when he purified the bitter waters of Marah. God led them as a shepherd so that they became familiar with His name Yahweh Rohi. As they grumbled about the lack of food, God provided manna for sustenance and called Himself Jehovah Jaira (The Lord Will Provide). When they went to battle against the Amalekites, the Lord fought with Joshua and the troops and helped Moses hold up his hands in victory through the battle. Moses built an altar to His name, Jehovah Nissi. (The Lord is My Banner)
With God everything is personal. May I suggest that we investigate some of the names of God during this month of radiance. As we get to know Him more intimately, we will radiate HIs light and glory.
Why should Passover be important for Christians? Robert Heidler, in his book The Messianic Church Arising, gives us several explanations:
(1) The root of our faith comes from the Jews, and we are spiritually united with Israel.
(2) Our Scriptures contain multiple references to the celebration of Passover and tell us to remember God's Word. "This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord." (Exodus 12:14)
(3) Passover is included as part of God's plan of salvation. Without Passover the Jews would have died in Egypt and Jesus would not have been born. Without Jesus there is no salvation.
(4) Passover teaches us about Jesus—The Passover Lamb. (1 Corinthians 5:7) It was by His blood that we were redeemed and set free to walk in the promises of God.
Robert Heidler's book explains that "Every element (of Passover) points to Jesus." Jesus is the One who brings us deliverance, redemption, and freedom. He celebrated the Passover with His disciples: "Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, 'Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.'" (Luke 22:7)
Under two kings of Judah, the temple was cleansed, items of defilement were removed from the sanctuary, and the covenant with the Lord was renewed. Hezekiah had the Levites consecrate themselves so that they could make sacrifices to the Lord. He then reinstated the practice of celebrating Passover. Though it was done in the second month of the year instead of the first, God was pleased with their offerings and blessed the people. A spirit of generosity came upon them as they were revived. (2 Chronicles 30)
Josiah's acts of devotion to the Lord are recorded in 2 Chronicles 34 and 35. He destroyed idols, purified the land and the temple, and read the Book of the Covenant. He reinstituted the celebration of Passover in Jerusalem. 2 Chronicles 35:18 tells us, "...none of the kings of Israel had ever celebrated such a Passover as did Josiah..." A celebration like this brings unity to the community and revives it.
It appears that the celebration of Passover is directly linked with revival. My belief is that if the church began to acknowledge and honor Passover, She would be renewed and revived. Even the simple act of reading the Biblical accounts of Passover and acknowledging that Jesus is our Passover Lamb could begin a revival of our faith. Wednesday at sundown begins Passover. Are we ready to celebrate?
When God was ready to deliver His people from the bondage of Egypt, He introduced a new calendar order for the months. "The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 'This month (Nissan) is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.'" (Exodus 12:1-2) I believe God wanted the Israelites to associate their deliverance and the Passover they would experience just before leaving Egypt with new beginnings. Spring is a time of new beginnings and a reminder of how all creation has recovered from a death process in order to rise to new life.
In this year (2023), the first month on the Hebrew calendar begins on Wednesday at sunset. It is called Nissan or Abib and is a Hebraic term for when the seeds of the grain have reached their full size. This was demonstrated as the children of Israel entered the Promised Land. God told them, "...When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain of your harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath." (Leviticus 23:10-11) Isn't it amazing that the Promised Land was ripe for harvest when God's people were given it?
The details of God's timing and coordination of the events of each month are amazing! When Nissan began, the children of Israel were told that each Jewish family was to bring a spotless, year-old lamb into the household on the tenth of the month. The lamb was to be cared for until the fourteenth of the month when it would be slaughtered. The blood of that lamb was to be placed on the sides and top of the doorframes of their homes. As the angel of death passed through Egypt to kill their firstborn sons and animals, the children of Israel were protected by the blood of the lamb, and their homes were "passed over." The plague that struck Egypt did not touch the Israelites. In memory of this event, the Israelite families killed a Passover lamb yearly until God stopped the lamb sacrifices by bringing His Son, Jesus, to earth to die once and for all time. He became the true Passover Lamb that redeems us from our sins. As we receive Jesus into our hearts, His blood is applied to the doorframe of our hearts. We become "born again." 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: The old has gone, the new is here!" And, as a sign that heaven was touching earth, the Lord placed a reminder of our Passover Lamb in the heavens during Nissan. The constellation Aries, the lamb, is prominent in the night sky during this month.
With God, nothing is left to chance. He even assigned a marching order to the children of Israel when they began their journey to the Promised Land. The tribe of Judah was to go out first. The Lord knew that HIs people would face battles on the way to their destination. What better way to overcome the enemy than with praise to the Lord? Judah comes from the Hebrew word Yadah, which means "to praise, to give thanks, and to glorify God." We find two interesting verses in Psalm 114: "When Israel came out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of foreign tongue, Judah became God's sanctuary, Israel His dominion." (Verses 1-2) This means that God lived among them. He chose to dwell in their presence, and they became His dominion on the earth.
Let us rejoice in the reminders that we see of God's redemption and praise Him for what He has done. As spring erupts around us, He is calling each of us to join Him in a journey to our own Promised Land. If we walk in the will of God, He will empower us to live there and partake of the fullness of HIs provisions.
We can count on the truth that God is a Redeemer! He sent His son, Jesus, to redeem all of us from the curse of the law. (Galatians 3:13) Even before Jesus came to earth, God was working redemption in the lives of His people. The story of Esther demonstrates this.
Esther and her cousin Mordecai, from the tribe of Benjamin, lived in Persia (Modern day Iran). The generation before them had been exiled to the capital of Susa. Because of her great beauty and sensitivity to the Spirit of God, Esther became queen to King Xerxes without him knowing that she was a Jew. In this position she was introduced to Haman, the second in command to the king. Haman's immense pride, jealousy, and hate for the Jews led him to plot their destruction. We learn that Esther was placed in the palace "for such a time as this." (Esther 4:14) Her cousin Mordecai encourages her to go before the king without being summoned so she could plead for his mercy for her people.
By honoring the king with two exquisite banquets, Esther showed the king her loyalty to him and took advantage of this time to reveal her true identity as a Jew. She also exposed the plan that Haman was about to carry out in killing her and all the Jews in the Persian empire. The king wrote out another decree that allowed the Jews to fight for their lives against those who would attack them. Great fear of the Jews came upon those in the Persian empire, and they won a victory over their enemies. The king gave permission to the Jews to collect plunder from those who were going to kill them. However, no plunder was taken! The Jews understood that doing this would have been an idolatrous action. By not doing so, they could redeem the sin that had taken place years ago.
To understand the redemption that took place, we must look back to the days of King Saul and remember that he was from the tribe of Benjamin. 1 Samuel 15 tells how Saul went to battle against King Agag and the Amalekites. God's instructions to Saul were very clear: "Now go and attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belong to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys." (Verse 3) "But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good." (Verse 9)
The prophet Samuel confronted Saul: "Why did you not obey the Lord? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the Lord?” (Verse 19) "To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams." (Verse 22) Saul, representing the tribe of Benjamin, committed a sin of disobedience and arrogance against the Lord by stealing His plunder. As Benjamites, Mordecai and Esther were given the opportunity to redeem the taking of idolatrous plunder by the Benjamite King Saul. Is it not fitting that their enemy, Haman, was an Agagite of the Amalekites? With their actions, the Jews vindicated the tribe of Benjamin and all of Israel and destroyed the descendants of God's enemies.
If we look at the larger context of this story, we can see that Haman represents satanic opposition to the Christian community along with the Jews. We too have redemption from Christ's death on the cross and resurrection. Christ won the battle for us so that we can win plunder for Him through sharing the good news of Jesus with those who need to hear it. We can celebrate this season and rest assured of the Lord's redemption for every season. What an encouragement!
The final month on the Hebrew calendar, Adar, is upon us. The meaning of this name is strength, and it speaks of the way that God want us to finish the year. To do this, we must be on the watch for what is happening around us. God wants us to see things from His perspective. The Word of God should be our guide to guard over our futures. The events of Adar in the book of Esther demonstrate the importance of the watchman anointing.
In one of the capitals of the Persian empire, a place called Susa, their lived Jewish families who had been deported by Babylon. Having lived there for over 100 years, the Jews had been able to independently run businesses and hold positions in government. Esther's cousin, Mordecai, had an official position among the Jewish captives that required him to be around the king's palace frequently. He developed the skill of watching and listening to what was going on around him.
In the seventh year of King Xerxes reign over the kingdom, Esther became queen of the empire. As a palace official, Mordecai was able to station himself at the king's gate. His watchman anointing became particularly important as he overheard two of the king's eunuchs plotting the death of their king. Mordecai revealed this plot to Esther, who passed the information to the king. Those who plotted evil were executed. The watchman anointing continued to help Mordecai save his people from death that was being plotted by the king's second in command, Haman.
Haman's hate for the Jews compelled him to plan for their destruction. By lot, Adar 13th was selected as the day when the Jews were to be annihilated. Knowing the plan, Mordecai asked Esther to appear before the king and plead for mercy. For anyone who approached the king uninvited, death was the decree. Confident of God's protection for his people, Mordecai reminded Esther of this: "If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14) Esther musters up the courage to approach King Xerxes, tells him the entire story, and the Jews are given permission to kill all those who would come against them on the very day that they were supposed to be destroyed. The triumph of the Jews over evil is still celebrated on the anniversary of their planned destruction. (Adar 14 and 15)
Scripture points out the importance of watching. This is a skill that the Body of Christ needs to develop. What a perfect time to do that during Adar! Let us look at some of the Scriptures:
Everyone who calls himself a Christian has a call to watch and guard their lives and that of our loved ones. Our assignment for this month of Adar is to listen carefully for the Lord's instructions and watch over His Word that we might guard our gates and encourage the Body of Christ with directions that lead us into more intimacy with Him. If we ask for an increase in the watchman anointing, I am sure He will give it to us.
The eleventh month on the Hebrew calendar, Shevat, started one week ago. Tzadik is the letter in the Hebrew alphabet for this month and symbolizes "The Righteous One." Jeremiah prophesied the coming of the Righteous One in chapter 23 of his book. The chapter is titled "The Righteous Branch." "'I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,' declares the Lord. 'The days are coming,' declares the Lord, 'when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In His days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which He will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.'" (Jeremiah 23:3-6)
This description of our Savior as the Branch is quite interesting to me since on the fifteenth of Shevat the Jews celebrate what they call, "The New Year of the Trees" or "Tu B-Sh'vat." Rabbis used this date to determine the beginning of the agricultural cycle for Biblical tithes of fruit. The most important part of a tree's structure is its root system. The roots feed the branches that produce leaves and fruit. Their job, in addition to anchoring the tree, is to take in water and nutrients that help the branches grow healthy and strong and produce good fruit. That is why the location for a tree is critical. Farmers prepare their soil by adding organic matter to it. They may also look for a planting location near the water so that their trees can be well irrigated.
Did you know that in the prophetic realm large, leafy trees represent powerful and prosperous kingdoms? (The Prophets Dictionary, by Paula A. Price, PhD) Chuck Pierce's book, When God Speaks, says that trees also represent people. Kingdoms are made up of people, each one making a contribution to their kingdom. As children of the Kingdom of Light, we must be rooted in fertile soil. Colossians 2:6-7 gives us directions on where to root. "So then, just as you receive Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." If we are rooted in Christ then we take in His love and righteousness and are destined to produce good fruit, "...fruit that will last." (John 15:16)
We, as children of the Most High God, (El Elyon) are made in the image of the Lord, Our Righteous Savior. Why is righteousness so important? It means we are in right standing with God and conformed to His image. Our righteousness in God comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Our goal is to become like Him. It is available to us as it says in Romans 3:21-22. "But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through Jesus Christ to all who believe."
There is a promise in Mathew 5:6 for those of us who desire to be like our Savior. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." Are we firmly anchored in Him? Do we take in all the good He has for us? How productive are we? In this month of Shevat, let us be especially mindful of where we are planted, what we take in, and how we use what our Righteous Lord provides so that we can produce good fruit for the Kingdom of Light. God bless you.
The tenth month on the Hebrew calendar is named Tevet which is from the Hebrew word "Tov," meaning good. Our New Year falls on the eighth of Tevet and is a time to set a sure course for our futures. We are reminded in the first four verses of Psalm 81 to rejoice because God has given us seasons of joy. "Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! Begin the music, strike the timbrel, play the melodious harp and lyre. Sound the ram's horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full. On the day of our festival, this is a decree for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob."
Rejoicing in our God of salvation is a sure way to embrace hope for the future. That is why God ordained that His children should celebrate each new month and the goodness He will pour upon us. Our days are getting brighter and brighter as the sun rises higher and shines for a longer period of time. This is an ideal time to chart a course of righteousness. Proverbs 4:18 in The Passion Translation says, "But the lovers of God walk on the highway of light, and their way shines brighter and brighter until they bring forth the perfect day." The NIV gives a slight variation on the interpretation of this verse. "The path of the righteousness is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day."
Surely, light overcomes darkness. The month of Tevet is associated with the Hebrew letter AYIN which is the picture of an eye. This season is meant for us to open our eyes to let the light in and to follow the bright path. That means keeping our eyes on the Lord so that He can lead us in the right direction for our intended destiny. We cannot pay attention to the noise around us that would lead us down the wrong path. Many voices with self-centered agendas compete for our time and attention. We must evaluate what we are hearing against the Word of God. It is a "sure foundation for our times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure." (Isaiah 33:6)
The New Year is upon us. Let us yield to the Lord and take the path that He ordained. The Passion Translation has a beautiful way of expressing who we are to be in Christ: "We have become His poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it!" (Ephesians 2:10) Let us make our good works coincide with the good month of Tevet and chart a course for our futures that glorifies the One who planned our destinies.
The 400 years between the Old and New Testaments are known as the "silent years." It was during these years that Hanukkah took place. The Jews called the Greek-Syrian General who led the forces against them "Antiochus the Madman." His belief was that he was one of the Greek gods who had come to earth. He took the name Epiphanes, which means "God manifest" and expected the Jews to worship him. In the town named Modi’in, just outside of Jerusalem, a representative of Antiochus came to demand that the Jews bow down and worship a statute of Antiochus. The priestly family called the Maccabees was unwilling to compromise their faith and began a campaign of guerrilla warfare against the Greek-Syrian army.
A miracle was in the working! God honored the Maccabees and their small band of fighters for refusing to assimilate into the world around them by honoring the Word of God . They understood they would be put to death if they lost their battle. But they were “steadfast and immovable” (1 Corinthians 15:58) in their belief. They were “rooted and grounded” (Ephesians 3:17) in the Lord and would not be moved. On the 24th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar, in the year 165 B.C., the three-year campaign waged by the Maccabees against their persecutors ended in victory. Antiochus the IV failed in his attempt to "Hellenize" (absorb into Greek culture) the Jews.
Because the Temple had been defiled by the Greek-Syrian soldiers, it had to be cleansed and rededicated. The Maccabees removed all the stones from the altar because it had been defiled by the sacrifice of a pig upon it. A new altar was built, and they set about to relight the seven-branched candelabra known as the Menorah. Once lit, the Jews realized that there was not enough sacred oil to keep the flame of the candles burning for more than one day. It took eight days to prepare more holy oil. The miracle of Hanukkah is that the Menorah oil burned for eight days without any oil being added to the original supply.
Today Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days in honor of the miraculous light that shown brightly in the Temple. The Menorah that is used today has eight branches to signify the eight days the oil burned in the Temple. There is a ninth branch in the center for the Shammas or Servant candle. It sits higher than the other candles and is used to light all the others. Christians may recognize that this candle symbolizes Jesus, "The Light of the World." (John 9:5) He is the Light that shines to show the way for a new beginning for all who come to Him.
Those of us who have been "lit" by Jesus have a responsibility to keep our "lights shining before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) Today we are faced with a society of people with immoral and alternative lifestyles that would like to snuff out our lights. Their scheme is to make us forget who we are as defined by God. They entice us to compromise our faith and encourage us to assimilate into their dark life patterns. We can see the erosion of a Biblical lifestyle. But, we can make a difference because we are the light of the world! (Matthew 5:14) Let the light of the Hanukkah candles remind us of our call to shine the light of Yeshua in the darkness. We have been set ablaze through His love, and the Holy Spirit provides us with an eternal supply of oil. Burn, dear ones! Burn!
Increasing darkness characterizes the season we are currently in as we see the light of the sun slipping away early in the evening. The ninth month on the Hebrew calendar, Kislev, began on Thanksgiving night. Though this is the month of increasing darkness, the meaning of the word Kislev confronts the darkness. It means to trust, rest, or have security. How can we do these things when the darkness expands? This increase not only has a physical manifestation, but also a spiritual one. The deeds of darkness are growing. We read and hear about them in the news. Were it not for the light of Christ, we would be hopeless. Two events crash into the darkness during this season. The center of the Hanukkah celebration is the lighting of the Menorah candles in remembrance of how the Maccabees, against all odds, restored the Temple. This year, Christmas eve occurs on the last day of Kislev. Yeshua, "The Light of the World," (John 8:12) came from heaven, full of glory.
You may be asking, "How can we have rest and security during a time when darkness seems to be overtaking us?" It appears that evil agendas plotted in the darkness are prevailing. We might join the prophet Habakkuk in asking the Lord questions that seem to have no answers and in declaring the circumstances we live in that look hopeless on the surface. He asked God, "Why do you make me look at injustice...The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted." (Habakkuk 1:3,4) "...Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?" (Habakkuk 1:13)
God is not unaware of evil deeds. He tells Habakkuk: "Woe to him who piles up stolen goods and makes himself wealthy by extortion!" (2:6) "Woe to him who builds his house by unjust gain..." (2:9) "Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and establishes a town by injustice!" (2:12) "Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor..." (2:15) "Woe to him who says to wood, 'Come to life!' or to a lifeless stone, 'Wake up!'" (2:19)
Dark deeds will not prevail! How can I write this? Jesus, Yeshua, came as The Light of the World. In the book of John we read, "In Him (Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:4-5) Jesus testified about who He is when speaking to the those who followed Him: "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12) "I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believers in me should stay in darkness." (John 12:46)
Here is the word of truth coming to us from the Son of God, sent to earth to bring light and truth. John 1:5 is a verse that we should stand on: "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it." Jesus told His disciples, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) Rest and security come in this season as we trust in the truth of God's word. We must receive and believe in this truth!
After complaining to God about the deeds of darkness that were occurring during his lifetime, Habakkuk comes to a conclusion that brings him peace. "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails, and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will be joyful in God my Savior." (Habakkuk 3:17-18) Adopting this philosophy for us can also bring us peace and rest.
Joan E. Mathias